Part 2, Project 3 Exercise 4 – Still life with colour to evoke mood

We are to use the same still life arrangement in any way that we choose. As these are such strange times under lock down, I first thought of using a variety of colours, to create a kind of psychedelic abstract painting. I wasn’t sure if it would work or whether it would be easy to create. I spent a while looking at the pre-prepared image (again traced off onto A4 Bockingford paper) and wondered if all those strong lines would assist in making some kind of Op Art painting – a la Bridget Riley. I decided it would be cool to spend time making linear effects and perhaps this exercise would help me free up ideas around the objects themselves, which at the moment have negative connotations.

starting to block in geometric shapes

I did an online search for typical OpArt images, to get a feel for the types of patterns used. In many cases, people use chequered effects, dots, wavy lines, diamond shapes, waves of lines in varying thicknesses. I have seen some lovely work in the Vitamin P3 book by various artists, which I found quite inspiring with regards this exercise. I will delve into one or two of those artists in future posts (McArthur Binion is one).

I continued to build up patterns, given that we have so much time on our hands these days and are ‘confined to barracks’, there’s no need to rush this type of thing (which I would have done before C-19)

I had decided early on that I would either colourize the mask or the bottle and once I’d done quite a lot of the background pattern work, I decided that the bottle naturally lent itself to colour treatment (I wasn’t sure about the shadow and left that until last).

laying in colour

From the work that I’d done in the previous exercise around complementary colours and mixing to create grey, I used that technique to create the warm ochre in the bottle reflection, as well as the window casing (which I didn’t over-work this time and I think it has benefited from that).

Still Life under Covid-19 – pen, ink, water-soluble oil pastels on Bockingford paper – A4

We are asked to assemble all our still lifes in this project and compare them:

Still life under Covid-19 – studies

I am warming to the final study being the most visually exciting. I enjoyed doing all these studies and I have learnt a great deal about repetitive work and how it can help you focus an approach, as well as loosening up with regards colour management. The bottle colour in the last exercise is easily achieved with hardly any heavy re-working – because I knew the brightness had to come up very strong. I like the graphic, abstract nature of the last study as well, it was fun to ‘play’ with creating optical effects around a painted focus (the bottle). The mask has such an interesting shape in its own right, it doesn’t need any ‘fiddling’ with – it is a strong graphic shape.

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